Barry Unsworth’s Losing Nelson is a novel of obsession, the story of a man unable to see himself separately from the hero he mistakenly idolizes Admiral Lord Nelson. Charles Cleasby is, in fact, a Nelson biographer run amok. He is convinced that Nelson—Britain's greatest admiral, who finally defeated Napoleon, and lost his own life, in the Battle of Trafalgar—is the perfect hero, but in his research he has come upon an incident of horrifying brutality in Nelson's military career that simply stumps all attempts at glorification.
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Living alone and well-off after his father’s death, Charles has no impediment to the lifelong pursuit of this celebration and its accompanying biography, save one: He can—t explain to his satisfaction what happened in Naples on June 26, 1799, when his bright angel Horatio apparently defied a trea...| Read Full Review of Losing Nelson
In his mind they are joined: Nelson is a radiant angel, a hero of unstained virtue, and he is Nelson's other, shadow side: ""I was his heir, I had inherited his being."" For years Cleasby has been writing a book extolling Nelson's heroism, but has become blocked over a controversial incident in J...| Read Full Review of Losing Nelson
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